Weekend Reads: Ukraine Needs America’s Help, How America Buys Infrastructure, and More

New this week

Is college a risky investment? David Wessel highlights a new study that looks at the risk of going to college and calls the value of a bachelor’s degree for a male student at California State a “marginally good investment.” Brookings scholars have further contributed to the higher ed debate by arguing that students don’t have enough information about the cost of college and that the idea of higher education in the U.S. needs to be reimagined entirely.

Debating Obama’s community college plan. The proposal received a variety of criticisms from policy experts across the political spectrum, but Richard Reeves asks if the debate over the policy’s details misses a more powerful aspect of the president’s proposal.

Ukraine needs America’s help. In the Washington Post, Steven Pifer and Strobe Talbott write that Washington must do more to get Russia to change course by providing Ukraine with money, lethal assistance, and defensive arms.

Africa 2014 in retrospect. Mwangi Kimenyi highlights events and issues that made the biggest impact on the continent in 2014.

Rethinking how America buys infrastructure. The U.S. has a $150 billion annual gap in needed infrastructure funds, and it needs a solution. Robert Puentes and Patrick Sabol highlight promising ideas from cities and states that are leading the way in creating successful public-private partnerships.

Empowering Muslims in Europe. Javier Solana writes that in order to effectively deter Europe’s jihadi generation, the West must do more than defend free speech and improve policing. It must empower moderate Muslims by offering acceptance and support.

What our experts are reading

My Brookings Foreign Policy colleague Bob Kagan on why Netanyahu should decline the invite to address Congress. (@ThomasWright08)

Nice Economist piece on China’s financial diplomacy. (@EswarSPrasad)

On why the role of oil in Nigeria’s upcoming elections is crucial. (@KaufPost)

A wonderful longread on a hard math problem and an unknown mathematical genius. (@JustinWolfers)